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From research conducted at the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health

Gene variants influence the concentration of a diabetes marker

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by a disruption of glucose metabolism: the hormone insulin is no longer produced in sufficient quantities or loses its effect.

Foto Kaffeekränzchen
Auch wenn Kuchen und Wein im Übermaß nicht gesund sind: Genetische Faktoren beeinflussen ebenfalls die Entstehung der Typ 2-Diabetes. Photo/Graphic: Helmholtz/E. Fesseler.

Both genetic and lifestyle factors are instrumental in the development of diabetes. The most important blood parameter for tracking the course of the disease is glycohemoglobin (HbA1C). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now identified new gene variants that influence the concentration of HbA1C. Seven of the affected gene loci are linked to rare hereditary illnesses such as anaemias and iron storage disorders. For their study the researchers examined the data of 46,000 people and discovered that common gene variants influence the biology of the red blood cells, making a small yet quantifiable contribution to the diagnosis of diabetes. A more precise understanding of the genetic foundations and causes of the disease can lead to more promising treatments.

Andreas Fischer